The Biodynamics Now! Podcast Episode 5: An Interview with Dr. Thomas Cowan, author of The Fourfold Path of Healing

Dr Thomas Cowan
Anthroposophic Physician Dr Thomas Cowan

Dr. Tom Cowan discovered the work of the two men who would have the most influence on his career while teaching gardening as a Peace Corps volunteer in Swaziland, South Africa. He read Nutrition and Physical Degenerationby Weston Price, and a fellow volunteer explained the arcane principles of Rudolf Steiner’s™ biodynamic agriculture. These events inspired him to pursue a medical degree. Tom graduated from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine in 1984. After his residency in Family Practice at Johnson City Hospital in Johnson City, New York, he set up an anthroposophical medical practice in Peterborough, New Hampshire. Dr. Cowan relocated to San Francisco in 2003.

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Dr. Cowan has served as vice president of the Physicians Association for Anthroposophical Medicine and is a founding board member of the Weston A. Price Foundation. He is the principal author of the book, The Fourfold Path to Healing, which was published in 2004 by New Trends Publishing. He writes the “Ask the Doctor” column in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the Foundation’s™ quarterly magazine, and has lectured throughout the United States and Canada. He has three grown children and currently practices medicine in San Francisco where he resides with his wife, Lynda Smith Cowan. <bio provided by Dr Cowan’s office>

What is “The Fourfold Path to Healing” ?

Considered a companion to Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions, The Fourfold Path of Healing is a unique, comprehensive view of medicine, a holistic approach to healing that integrates the four aspects of our bodies: the Physical, the Life-Force, the Emotional and the Mental.

Its principles are simple: right diet for healing the physical body; beneficial medicines or therapies for the life-force body; healing movement and exercise for the emotional body, and effective thinking activity for the mental body.

Dr. Cowan merges the wisdom of traditional societies, the most modern findings of western medicine and the esoteric teachings of the ancients as he works to answer this most important question: How do we obtain true health?

The Fourfold Path integrates proper nutrition, appropriate therapeutics, movement exercises and focused meditation. <from Dr Cowan’s website>


Dr Cowan’s Website

Show Notes

Notes on Dr. Thomas Cowan Podcast
Agricultural background. Peace Corp. Biodynamic farming. Steiner – gardening. Findhorn books.
Buried trash. Didn’t know anything about gardening.
Anthroposophy study in medical school. Temple Wilton Community Garden – first member.
17 years in Petersboro, VT, area.
San Francisco Live Power Farm.
Alan Chadwick – discussion of his greatness.
Anthroposophic medicine. Iscador. Schwenk Flower Farm. Mistletoe.
Steiner to Pffeiffer. Will – action – force of nutrition. Cosmic cycles.
All into astrology. Cowan diverged from strict Anthroposophy.
100 years ago, Great Plains – always found 12 feet of black topsoil. By 1930, blown away. Soil dead.
Soil depletion in East as well.
“Even best food basically crap.” People are sick. That’s a reflection of the soil.
Phytonutrients – secondary metabolites for protection.
Is biodynamic food nutrient-dense? Bay area – large garden Zen monastery. Green Gulch Farm
(Chadwick farm).
Dr. Cowan’s diet based on highest quality of food.
Really good food does not spoil as quickly – produce stays fresh for months. Story about guy with
spinach in truck, not refrigerated, looked great.
Nutrition from animal products; medicine from plants . . . . in form of secondary metabolites.
Animal food builds body, plant food is for health . . .
Q. How to increase ego forces, strength? What about albumen in urine?
A. “Jargon.” I try to avoid jargon. Albumen in urine would be a problem in the kidneys.
Q. How to restore feeling in the body – “thinking and willing.” What about Diascora (sp.?) – yam?
A. To abstract and esoteric. I have used Diascora . . . .
Q. Why so many addicts?
A. Changes re addiction. We live in a very sick culture. We’re about to destroy ourselves. We spend
money, pay taxes to support a sick culture. This sucks. That’s why so many people are addicts, to
escape from this reality. A lot can’t take it. Topsoil/food/air/water/breast milk chemical/climate
change. This is unprecedented. This sucks.
Q. WAPF Dallas: You talked about stress-free living, indigenous peoples living stress-free.
A. Aside from diseases I wouldn’t want to get like smallpox, indigenous immune systems were different:
their immune systems reacted to diseases like cancer but not to infectious diseases. Not a medicine
question [?].
Q. What about rheumatoid arthritis?
A. Like any autoimmune disease, protein in blood. In through the gut – gut healing, GAPS diet, 18
months. Low-dose naltrexone increases endorphins. Fermented turmeric – has to be special ordered.
Q. How do you prescribe?
A. I send out prescriptions.
Q. What about degenerative back disease?
A. Nourishing Traditions – gelatin – bone broths – Bamboosa, tree-like/grass-like. Spatial dynamics for
healthy flow through the spine.
Q. What about Alzheimer’s, dementia?
A. Mary Newport – epilepsy – ketogenic diet. Brain likes fat more than carbohydrates. Seizures = Type
2 diabetes of the brain. Switching fuel from sugar to fat: high fat, modest protein, high vegetables.
YouTube – fats + warm body/ego: anthroposophical.
Q. What about Atkins diet?
A. Not quality based. First step: quality. High protein. Not good human diet. Ketosis not bad, just a
bad name.
Q. What about paleo?
A. Not against grains. Part of evolution of human consciousness – transit to modern consciousness – to
far with grains, ruin soil and health. Go back to paleo to regain health, then reintroduce grains, properly
prepared of course.
Q. What’s a good probiotic?
A. BioKult – GAPS – BioCell [?].

5 Replies to “The Biodynamics Now! Podcast Episode 5: An Interview with Dr. Thomas Cowan, author of The Fourfold Path of Healing”

  1. I found this podcast fascinating. I have read (and appreciated) Dr. Cowan’s book and I am familiar with many aspects of natural medicine. I learned many useful ideas from this frank discussion of the meeting points between medicine, anthroposophic medicine, modern culture and biodynamic agriculture. I appreciated Dr Cowan’s comments about jargon and his willingness to stick to what he knew. I look forward to seeing him speak in person sometime.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to write. You can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. I guess I should install a special link for doing that. Thanks again!

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